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Fourth echelon

Where is the safest place to sit on a train?

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Tuesday's deadly Amtrak derailment in Philadelphia, which killed eight people and injured more than 200 others, may have people wondering, where is the safest place to sit on a train?

Conventional wisdom holds that the front car of a train is the most dangerous place in the event of a head-on collision, while the last car is less safe if the train is rear-ended. But, in fact, trains are nine times more likely to derail than to hit another train or car head-on or to get hit from behind, according to the Federal Railroad Administration (FRA). The administration found that there were about 13,200 derailments from 2005 to 2014, compared with about 1,450 collisions.

Investigators are working to determine what caused the derailment of Amtrak's Northeast Regional Train 188, which was carrying 238 passengers and five crewmembers en route from Washington, D.C., to New York Tuesday night. The train had seven cars, including the engine car, which separated from the others in the accident. Six of the cars overturned, and some were so mangled that firefighters had to use hydraulic tools to get people out, The New York Times reported. [How Safe Is Train Travel?



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